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July 19, 2020

Streets flooded, power out even 24 hours after rain

Karachi

July 19, 2020

Even after the passage of 24 hours since Friday’s downpour, many flooded areas of Karachi could not be drained, with houses in the upmarket areas such as the PECHS neighbourhood continuing to remain inundated on Saturday night.

On the other hand, electricity outages added to the miseries of the people, as power supply could not be restored to PECHS Block-6, Clifton Block-5, Shah Faisal Colony, Manzoor Colony, Defence View, Malir Halt, North Karachi, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Rafah-e-Aam Society and other parts of the city.

Residents complained that even if power was restored, a failure would occur a few hours later and there would be no electricity for another four or five hours. A gap of 400 megawatts had been reported in the demand and supply of electricity. More than 300 water pumps of the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board remained dysfunctional due to the power failures. K-Electric suspects that localised faults may be behind the areas without electricity.

Residents of different parts of Karachi have expressed their concerns regarding the chances that the city may receive more showers, wondering where all the rainwater will go. Those living in PECHS Block-6 said they had to endure flooding every monsoon season.

One of the residents, Zain, pointed out that since the nearby storm water drain was not cleared, rainwater entered their homes. “Our block is at a slope, so all the water from the nullah gushes out and enters our homes, bringing filth, trash and rainwater with it.”

He lamented that despite the fact that they have made several complaints on different occasions, no action has been taken to date for rectifying their unbearable situation.

A large storm water drain in the Karachi Administration Employees Housing Society (PECHS), near the Tipu Sultan po0lice station, could not be cleared even after the second spell of the monsoon showers.

“One can see how the nullah is chock-full of garbage. No government official has bothered to pay a visit,” said a resident, fearing that if it rains more, the entire society will be flooded. “Right now the water is above its normal level due to Friday’s downpour.”

Other blocks of PECHS could also not be drained until Saturday evening. Meanwhile, Aiwan-e-Saddar Road, Kharadar, Wazir Mansion, Teen Hatti, roads in Shah Faisal Colony and Zia Colony, DHA’s streets, Shahrah-e-Pakistan, Club Road, MA Jinnah Road and PIB Colony remained inundated as well.

Internal roads and playgrounds of District Korangi were also completely flooded. A resident of Korangi No. 2½, Saba, said the playground and streets turn into swimming pools even after a mild spell of rain.

“There’s no proper drainage system in the area. After every spell of rain, we experience flooding. Rainwater enters our homes and we can do nothing but sit helplessly.”

Entrances to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation’s head office on MA Jinnah Road and the Sindh High Court’s building were also flooded with rainwater. A huge pothole has formed in the newly constructed road in front of the DJ Science College.

Rainwater could not be removed from Dr Ziauddin Road as well. Several small storm water drains under the administrative control of the South District Municipal Corporation (DMC) could also not be cleared.

On the other hand, East DMC Chairman Moeed Anwar visited different areas of his district with Sindh Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah on Saturday. According to a press statement issued by the East DMC, rainwater was drained out from the low-lying areas with the help of dewatering pumps.

Anwar, Shah and the deputy commissioner of District East also paid a visit to the PECHS neighbourhood, Sharea Faisal and Gulistan-e-Zafar, and gave directions to the relevant officials for clearing the storm water drains.

Campaign

KE said in a press statement that they had launched a wide-spread safety awareness campaign ahead of the monsoon season, which according to the forecast of the Pakistan Meteorological Department was expected to bring more rains than last year’s.

The power utility reiterated the importance of collective and individual responsibility for public safety and reissued the call to keep a safe distance from the electricity infrastructure.

KE cautioned people to maintain a distance of at least three metres from the power infrastructure, including poles, transformers, downed cables and low-hanging power lines as well as trees that have fallen on the power lines.

In addition, cognisant of the high number of electrocutions occurring inside homes, KE also advised that electric sockets and switches as well as electrical devices and equipment such as water pumps and motors should not touched if exposed to water or rain, while younger children in particular should be kept under a close watch.

At the same time, said the power utility, they are also continuing their drive to remove unsafe encroachments, including TV and internet cables, light switches and Kundas (illegal connections) from electricity equipment. “Such encroachments not only damage the power infrastructure they also bypass safety mechanisms and are a leading cause of electrocutions during monsoon.”

Considering the beginning of Eidul Azha-related activities, the power company stressed that sacrificial animals in particular should not be tied to or near electric poles, nor should hanging lights be used.

“During rain, uncontrollable factors, including wind, lightning and breakage, can often lead to power disruption. In some areas, power is suspended as a precautionary measure as Kunda-infested and waterlogged areas are susceptible to electrocutions.”

KE said that low-lying areas especially experience waterlogging and urban flooding during rains, and coordinated efforts by all agencies are necessary to address the safety and operational challenges created due to standing rainwater.

“This is necessary for undertaking necessary timely power maintenance and restoration activities. The power utility follows an order of priority in each area for restoration: addressing emergencies on priorities, followed by repair of damaged high-voltage lines, feeders or substations, and then localised faults.”